Lesson Plan: Cause and Effect
Student Resource: "Asthma:
Stopping Attacks Before They Start"
Media Type: Article
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
- Identify factors that can trigger asthma attacks.
- Describe medical treatments for this disease, as well
as measures the asthmatic can personally take to reduce
the number and severity of attacks.
- Explain how good patient skills and personal responsibility
can improve the life of an asthmatic.
- Apply the reading skill of cause and effect to an article
on asthma prevention.
Introducing the Lesson
Remind or explain to students that the body's immune system
is its main defense against invasion from attack by disease-causing
agents. Ask if they can name a disease starting with the letter
A that is the result of the immune system being fooled
into taking action that harms, rather than helps, the body.
Some students will likely say AIDS. Acknowledge that this
answer is correct. Then reveal that there is another disease
that fits this description. Its name is asthma.
Note that researchers have determined that asthma is an autoimmune
disease, one that causes the person's own immune system to
work against the body. Add that in the case of asthmatics,
certain "triggers" cause the immune system to send
an alarm to the lungs, which then overreact by shutting down.
This makes it impossible for the person to breathe. Reveal
that students will presently read an article that explains
this process in detail, as well as actions that can be taken
to improve the lives of asthmatics.
On the board, write the sentences "My alarm clock didn't
go off" and "I was late for school." Note that
a cause-and-effect relationship exists between these
two statements. Say that a cause is a reason or explanation
for something that happens. An event is the thing that
happens. Have students tell which sentence on the board is
the cause (the first) and which is the effect (the second).
Point out that some effects have more than one cause and
vice versa. Challenge students to come up to the board and
add other causes for the event named (e.g., "I stayed
up late the night before") and other events that can
result from oversleeping ("I missed the first-period
history test I had stayed up studying for").
Explain that in the article students are about to read, they
will learn about cause-and-effect relationships pertaining
to the disease asthma. Hand out copies of the article.
After students have completed the reading, you may either
use the following as class discussion questions or assign
them as individual or group work.
- Comparing and Contrasting. Based on the pre-reading
class discussion and information in the article, describe
the effects of a gust of cold air on (1) the lungs of an
asthmatic and (2) the lungs of a healthy person.
- Analyzing. The article mentions a number of triggers
of asthma. Name four of these triggers. Explain the cause-and-effect
relationship between the triggers and the disease asthma.
- Synthesizing. In what way are the inhalant medications
used to treat asthma the cause of a positive effect? Are
they ever the cause of a negative effect? Explain your answer.
- Critical Thinking. Causes and effects are often
linked into chains in such a way that an effect itself becomes
the cause of something else. Identify all the causes and
effects in the following event chain.
Paula, an asthmatic, is having
pizza with friends. Someone nearby lights up a cigarette.
Paula begins to cough and wheeze. Her friend goes to
get her water. In the meantime, Paula takes a puff of
her steroid inhaler. Her symptoms grow worse.
- Extending. The American Medical Association has
advised Americans to develop good patient skills by becoming
more involved in their own health care and taking increased
responsibility for their own well-being. How could this
advice be extended to asthmatics? Support your answer with
specific facts from the article.
Developing a Cause-and-Effect Chain for
The cause-and-effect relationship can be seen not only in
asthma but also in virtually all diseases. Select another
non-infectious disease discussed in your health text. Determine:
- The possible causes of this disease (including other
diseases that can lead to it).
- The effects of this disease on the body and overall health
of the individual.
- The effects of various treatments on the symptoms of the